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Is Detroit Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Detroit Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Detroit safe to visit?

No, Detroit is considered one of the least safe large cities in the U.S., with crime rates significantly above the national average, including high rates of violent crime. Factors contributing to the city’s safety issues include economic decline, drug addiction, and insufficient law enforcement resources. We suggest avoiding Detroit for now.

The city of Detroit, home to America’s automobile industry and a lot of Americana, is a good road trip stop on a tour of the Midwest. Detroit may be more famous for its industry, but it’s also a regional cultural capital.

Visitors can check out the Motown Museum, dedicated to the famous music movement of the 1960s that shook up American pop culture. Other popular museums in town include the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the GM Renaissance Center.

Make sure to go for a walk on the waterfront while you’re in town. In recent years, Detroit has had a reputation as a run-down town, a place that was hit hard by the recession of 2008, which also affected its crime rate.

Although Detroit has gotten back on its feet since then, you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit now. We’ll show you this and more below; let us be your guide!

Is Detroit Safe to Visit?

Riverwalk along the Detroit River for a piece titled Is Detroit Safe to Visit

Linda Parton/Shutterstock

No. Visitors to Detroit will unfortunately have to take precautions, because it’s one of the least safe big cities in the United States. The Motor City has been battling sky high crime rates for decades, and the situation shows no sign of getting better.

Detroit’s crime rate is far above the national average. According to U.S. News & World Report, its crime rate is 566.2 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to a national average for big cities of about 355 incidents per 100,000 people.

The violent crime rate is higher by a rate of over 100 incidents per 100,000 people, even though it’s been declining over time. That is one of the most worrying things about Detroit, the fact that violent crime makes up a high proportion of the total crime rate.

Common criminal incidents include:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Carjacking
  • Mugging
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Armed robbery

There are a few reasons why Detroit’s crime rate has been high for so many decades. One is the declining prosperity in the city.

Ever since the U.S. car manufacturing industry on which Detroit depended began outsourcing, unemployment rates skyrocketed while the city budget for public services, including law enforcement, shrank.

Locals have pointed to other reasons why crime is so high, such as a drug addiction epidemic, improper distribution of police resources, and property blight caused by the foreclosure crisis. Although crime has declined over the past few years, these are complicated problems that require a long time to solve.

Detroit occasionally experiences natural disasters such as flooding and blizzards. If you are visiting in the winter, prepare for the cold as winters are freezing and can bring heavy storms.

Crime in Detroit

City buildings in downtown Detroit pictured for a guide titled Is Detroit Safe to Visit with cracked roads and old buildings towering over it


Crime is the biggest problem facing visitors and locals alike in Detroit. The city has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. According to FBI data for 2019, Detroit experienced 41,590 criminal incidents during the entire year.

Of that crime total, about 31% are violent crimes, which is troubling since that proportion is higher than the national average. The most common overall crime in Detroit is larceny-theft, which makes up about 35.7% of total crimes committed in the area.

Businesses in the city report high levels of shoplifting and other forms of theft that affect their bottom line. Burglary is another common form of property crime, making up 16.3% of total crimes committed in Detroit.

Like many other cities in the United States, Detroit has seen an increase in motor vehicle thefts over the past few years. The most common violent crime is aggravated assault, which makes up 22.7% of the overall crime total and 72.5% of total violent crimes.

The robbery rate is also high, making up 5.6% of the crime total. Most concerning is the high homicide rate. In 2019, there were 275 cases of murder or manslaughter in the city.

In recent years, there have been some positive trends in Detroit crime. In 2023, the city had 252 homicides, which is the fewest number of murders since 1966. Law enforcement efforts such as partnerships with state troops and with community initiatives helped keep this number down.

Other crimes, such as carjackings, also decreased in 2019. Detroit has come some way from the worst years of its blight, but it’s clear the city still has a long way to go before it can fully be considered safe.


The crime that is most likely to affect you as a visitor in Detroit is robbery. There have been cases of muggings and robberies, even affecting tourists.

Most criminal incidents in Detroit occur in run-down residential neighborhoods, but there have been robberies even in the center and in the downtown business area. At night, you want to avoid dark alleyways and poorly lit areas.

If you can, take a taxi when passing through unfamiliar areas. Even during the day, try to decrease your vulnerability to robbery. Don’t flash valuables or wander into neighborhoods that feel sketchy. Avoid using street ATMs that may have skimmers.


The most common violent crime in Detroit is assault, which sometimes escalates to murder. Many tourists worry that they will be harmed seriously when they come to Detroit.

However, assault and other more violent crimes rarely affect visitors. Most cases of violent crime are between people who already know each other or are involved in some way. A random visitor is unlikely to be targeted.

The only way you as a tourist would probably get assaulted is during a bar fight, so try to avoid situations where alcohol escalates tensions.

Other assault incidents include robberies gone wrong. If you are unlucky enough to get mugged, avoid fighting back as you can get seriously hurt, and put your safety before your wallet.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Anonymous person walking along a sidewalk in a bad neighborhood with boarded up homes for a piece on whether Detroit is safe

Real Window Creative/Shutterstock

Crime in Detroit differs a lot depending on where you are. In central areas where tourists tend to visit, crime is a lot lower. However, there are certain neighborhoods where crime rates are quite high.

Places to avoid include:

  • 8 Mile Road
  • Poletown East
  • Belmont
  • Franklin Park

There are a lot more run-down neighborhoods, but you can usually tell by trusting your instinct if a place feels unsafe. Plus, you can always ask a local for advice because they’ll know more than you.

Things to Consider

City tram going downtown with a colorful exterior during the gorgeous Fall season

Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock

Here are some additional tips that can help you plan for your visit to Detroit:

  • Research where you stay carefully. Making sure you stay in a safe neighborhood can go a long way to stopping yourself from being the victim of a crime.
  • Use your street smarts. You can avoid most crimes in Detroit with basic common sense. Don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry, or otherwise flash valuables. Stick to well-lit main streets with lots of other people around, especially at night.
  • Avoid talking about crime. Like most people, Detroit residents are proud of their city, and are prickly when people bring about the stereotype that they are ridden with crime. Most will point out that they go to work and school every day without thinking about it, so why should visitors? Take any local advice about safety, but also about how to enjoy Detroit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gorgeous view of downtown Detroit


Here are some common questions that can also help with planning a trip to Detroit:

Is it safe to walk around Detroit at night?

Detroit is only safe at night if you stick to the well-lit main streets in popular tourist areas, such as Downtown or Greektown. In areas that you don’t know very well, stick to exploring in the daytime and take a taxi after dark.

Is Detroit a safe city now?

While Detroit has done a lot to lower its crime rate in recent years, it still can’t be called a safe city. It still has a high crime rate, including a high violent crime rate.

Is Detroit a good tourist destination?

Detroit may not be the best tourist destination in the United States, but it is still an interesting place to visit thanks to its unique role in developing American history and culture.

Is it safe to go to Detroit alone?

Detroit is safe to visit as a solo traveler and many people have done so in the past. As long as you take precautions such as not walking down dark alleyways at night or visiting rowdy nightclubs with a reputation for crime, you should be fine.

Is Detroit a walkable city?

The answer depends on where you stay. In the center, Detroit is one of the more walkable cities in the United States, but it gets more difficult to get around on foot the further out you go.

So, Is Detroit Safe to Visit?

Visiting Detroit safely is perfectly possible. Although it is true that the city has a high crime rate, most violent incidents take place far away from the city’s center, where most tourist attractions are located.

You should take precautions, such as researching which neighborhoods are safe and not walking alone at night, but those are precautions you should take in most places that you visit.